Read the Go Ahead newsletter to get regular updates about building consents information.

Welcome to the December 2017 Go Ahead.  

Christmas/New Year

The Council’s Building Consenting unit will be open for business throughout Christmas and New Year for 2017/18. The statutory clock will be on hold from 20 December 2017 to 10 January 2018.

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Building consent application forms

You may not realise the difference it makes when you provide complete information in your application form. Getting all the detail we need, such as the owner’s details, helps us process your application more quickly. Recently we’ve had a few applications missing this crucial detail. In some cases, information for an agent or contractor was provided instead.

You can avoid unnecessary delays by paying extra care when filling in the owner details section on page 2.

We need all the following information: the name of the owner of the building, a contact person for the owner, mailing address and contact phone numbers.

By providing this information up front, you’ll avoid any delays while we contact you to fill in the blanks.

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Residential property files

You can now receive property files via a downloadable link, sent by email. This is a huge improvement on the previous process of customers receiving a CD in the mail or having to pick up the CD from a Service Centre. 

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Practice note – supervision

New earthquake-prone building legislation

In July 2017, law changes came into force for earthquake-prone buildings, bringing in shorter time frames to complete seismic work.

The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 replaces the provisions in the Building Act 2004 relating to earthquake-prone buildings.

Buildings with a rating of less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) are deemed to be earthquake-prone.  These building will be issued with an earthquake-prone building notice (EPB) under section 133AL of the Building Act 2004.  This will include all buildings that have received a Section 124 notice under the Building Act 2004 and all other buildings that are known to the Council to have an NBS rating of less than 34 per cent.

A shorter time frame to complete seismic work will be detailed on the new notice.

All earthquake-prone buildings will be registered on a national database(external link), which is available to the public.

The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment has more information relating to managing earthquake-prone buildings(external link)

Change of use

We've made it easier for you to notify us of a building's change of use

  • As well as changing our assessment process, we’ve developed a new downloadable notification form [DOCX, 162 KB]
  • Where the change of use potentially does not require any upgrade work, the notification form and your supporting documents can be emailed into for assessment.
  • Where a small amount of upgrade work is required for the change of use you may be eligible for a discretionary exemption. This provides a cost-effective and quick process that helps keep the applicant’s project moving.

What counts as change of use

Every building is designed for a specific use and has to meet Building Code requirements that ensure it will be safe, healthy and durable when used in the way it was designed. If that use changes, the building may need to be altered to support the new use.
For the purposes of sections 114 and 115 of the Building Act, change of use, in relation to a building:

  • means to change the use (determined in accordance with regulation 6(external link)) of all or a part of the building from one use (the old use) to another (the new use)
  • with the result that the requirements for compliance with the building code in relation to the new use are additional to, or more onerous than, the requirements for compliance with the building code in relation to the old use.

Written notice to Council

If you want to change the use of a building, even if no building work is involved, section 114(external link) requires that the owner must give written notice to the Council.

An owner of a building must not change the use of the building unless the Council has given written notice that it is satisfied on reasonable grounds that:

  • in a case where the change involves the incorporation in the building of one or more household units where household units did not exist before, the building, in its new use, will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with the building code in all respects; and
  • in any other case, the building, in its new use, will comply, as nearly as is reasonably practicable, with every provision of the building code that relates to the following:
    • (A) means of escape from fire, protection of other property, sanitary facilities, structural performance, and fire-rating performance:
    • (B) access and facilities for people with disabilities (if this is a requirement under section 118); and will,—
    • (A) if it complied with the other provisions of the building code immediately before the change of use, continue to comply with those provisions; or
    • (B) if it did not comply with the other provisions of the building code immediately before the change of use, continue to comply at least to the same extent as it did then comply.

Queries and contact information

The notification of change of use submission and any queries you have around the new process can be directed to or call 941 8999 and ask to speak to the Duty BCO for assistance.

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